Vantage's Summer Holiday Driving Tips

Have you had enough of this awful British weather? The Summer holidays are just around the corner and up until now this 'summer' weather has been rather unappealing. We know many of you will be looking to take a trip abroad to ensure you and your family get some sunshine. To make sure you don’t get caught out we have done the research for you and come up with some top tips and need to know facts about driving in Europe.

Drink Driving: The rule is simple if you have a drink don’t drive. You may be surprised to know that the UK is actually pretty lenient, so it is always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Think Right: It is pretty easy to remember the Europeans drive on the right when we are sat in the comfort of our home but it can be quite different when you’re sat in front of the wheel. Occasion to especially watch out for are when pulling out of car parks, driving early in the morning when roads are quiet and exiting petrol stations.

Dip don’t dazzle: As you will be driving on the opposite side of the road it is important to remember to redirect your headlights so they do not dazzle the eyes of oncoming traffic. This is law in many countries and can be very simple to do. Some new cars come with built in adjusters for this, contact your manufacturer to double check how to do this. Alternatively you can buy beam converter kits which allow you to make the alterations yourself.

Gifts for the family: We know it is easy to stock up on the cases of wine while you are on the continent but remember they can easily weigh down your vehicle. Overloading of the vehicle can cause uneven wear on the tyres, burn out of the clutch or damage your suspension. Always be aware of how much you are buying and if your car can really take the extra weight.

Remember 112: This number can be your lifeline in any emergency, accident or other distressful situation

GB Sticker: All cars in the EU must display a GB sticker, even if your car number plate have the GB symbol on some countries still need the second sticker as standard. We advise that it is always better to place the GB sticker in your car window to avoid any on the spot fines which may occur.

Be bright, be seen: Reflective jackets are compulsory to be carried in your cars in certain European countries, although we suggest wherever you are to carry at least two with you. Please also be aware when hiring a car it is not always standard for them to supply the compulsory equipment which is needed by law. Check before you hire. Also consider if your car breaks down the need for a warning triangle. This come in many forms now and can be easily stored in your car.Again many countries require you to carry these as part of the law so check before you leave or even better always carry one with you.

Documents to take: 

It is important to have all the correct documents with you when driving in a foreign country, you may need these if you’re hiring a car, if you’re in an accident if your car gets stolen or if you’re stopped by the police.  We would suggest taking the following:

  1. A full driving licence with paper counterpart
  2. Full insurance certificate
  3. Vehicle registration document
  4. Passport
  5. Travel insurance documents
  6. Also please check if you need an International Driving Permit.

Tips by Country:

Austria: Toll stickers are required when driving on any motorway. A 10 day pass will set you back around 8 Euros.

Spain: If caught speeding you are likely to receive an on the stop fine, also when taking your own car ensure you are carrying the right equipment which is required by law including a high visibility vest, a spare tyre and 2 warning triangles.

Norway: The use of motorways, bridges and tunnels all involve the use of tolls. This means be prepared by carrying cash when you are driving or setting off earlier to avoid the toll roads.

Switzerland: Speeding is heavily punishable, and they have no leniency when it comes to driving over the speed limit. Even 5kmp/h over can result in an on the spot fine.

Czech Republic: Be aware of other drivers; they will not always use their indicators or stop and giveway even if it is your right of way. Vigilance is the key to driving here.

Netherlands: It’s an obstacle course on the roads; watch out for trams and cyclists.

France: All drivers must carry a self-test breathalyser by law. You can buy these from all hypermarkets in France but remember you will need one from the moment you start driving in the country.

These rules are just the basics to try ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone. We would advise anyone who will be driving in a foreign country this Easter or Summer to familiarise themselves with that countries rules and regulations. There are many sites which can help you to do that check out the RAC and AA for further information.

Have you got any more top tips for us? We'd love to hear from you! Email to share yours.

We hope you have a wonderful summer holiday!